Lots of birds visit our yard. We have multiple feeders, a bird bath, native shrubs, and mature trees. Our cats are indoor-only. We’re a bird-friendly destination, yo. Which is why it’s so baffling that crows don’t come around very often. I love crows’ black shininess and their sass. I love their raucous cries and intelligence. I just love crows.
Today I got to love them from afar. We were walking around the neighborhood and were two blocks from our house when we saw a couple crows on a roof, one in a tree, another hopping in the street and another few hopping on the lawn. What did that house and yard have that we don’t have? I stood below this light and asked these two why they didn’t come around my place.
They didn’t give me an answer. Color me envious.
Late this afternoon I finished reading John Carlin’s Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation (later re-released as Invictus) and then took a walk around the neighborhood with Zippy and Emma. As we walked past the home with the enormous pickup truck parked in front, the enormous truck with a TRUMP / PENCE sticker in the window, I fought my daily urge to throw a brick through that window.
And then I remembered the magic Nelson Mandela wrought in South Africa. After being unjustly locked away in prison for twenty-seven years, Mandela’s heart and mind were still open wide. He paved the way for blacks and whites to reconcile their anger and their guilt so they could become one. One Team, One Country. He helped blacks and whites unite around the Springbok rugby team as it went on to win the World Cup in 1995. Over and over, Mandela’s instincts and generosity of spirit helped everyone, black and white, become their better selves. It’s an extraordinary story and book, and I highly recommend reading it.
It’s hard to admit that within minutes of finishing Playing the Enemy, I wanted to inflict my red-hot anger on the person who keeps that sticker on his truck. Instead, I’d like to keep in mind what Desmond Tutu’s friend said about the day South Africa united around the Springbok victory: “The great thing about everything good that has happened is that it can happen again.”
Time to cultivate my better self.
Today I am thankful for my friend, mentor, and critique partner Claudia Mills who is spontaneous and responded in the affirmative to my last-minute invitation to get together. We spent an hour and a half this afternoon strolling around Viele Lake in Boulder. The sun shone brightly the entire time we walked and talked. Tanky-the-dog mostly listened, although he interjected a few yips at other mostly-larger dogs on the path.
Claudia and Tanky after our final lap around the lake.
It’s the last day of January (don’t let the door hit you on the way out!) and I’m grateful for the revitalization that comes from friendship and sunshine.
Tried to capture joy
of dog’s bouncing ears, pert tail
Yesterday was so damned cold I didn’t go outside. By evening, I was anxious and grumpy. Today it’s still very cold, but I just went for a fast 22-minute walk with Zippy and Emma in the sunshine. I feel exhilarated! And as soon as I post this, I’m going to turn up the music and get going on the Massive Photo Scrapbooking Project.
Because as Michael Franti says: Music is sunshine. Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose.
I’m gonna double down on the mood enhancement. Sunshine + Music. I refuse to let December’s cold and short days grind the life out of me.
Zippy and I passed this sculpture on the sidewalk as we walked around the neighborhood with Emma yesterday morning. It’s now 7:15 on Sunday night and I can say with absolute certainty that spotting this cheery little fella was the highlight of a very difficult weekend.
I hope it also brings you a smile.
Yesterday, I wrote about my gratitude for the snowstorm.
Today, after trying to walk Emma who seemed so determined to make me fall on the ice that I was forced to abort the effort after only three minutes, I’m over it.
It’s too cold to take Emma for her walk.
The sun is nowhere to be seen.
It’s gonna be dark-dark-dark in a couple hours.
Humor me and this long-ago clematis bloom.
It’s been a murky day filled with emotions, confusion, and an overall sense of TIRED. But I finally succumbed to cute Emma the Dog’s wriggling reminder that it was time for our daily walk, and went out to do just that.
Movement plus a smiling, happy dog by my side brought clarity to the day.
I’m feeling so much better. Today, Dog is most definitely this woman’s best friend.
Yesterday, as Zippy and I walked Emma around our neighborhood, we noted a larger-than-typical number of butterflies. We wondered if we were in a migration path. Sure enough, when we got home and looked in the backyard, we discovered this:
Rather than orange and black like the monarch butterfly, the Painted Lady is orange and brown. Migrations are also happening elsewhere. It was awe-inspiring to be in their lovely company as they soaked up the sun and flowery nutrition from the rabbit brush.Another generous gift from Mother Earth.
Zippy and I just took Emma for a walk around our neighborhood. As we walked, we noted the bright, outdoor lights shining on the marjority of houses we passed. It was a relief whenever we passed dark houses. A break for our eyes.
As annoying as those bright lights are for me, they can be life and death for birds during migration time. (And yes, I understand that lights on tall buildings are more problematic for birds than suburban lighting.)
Photo: NASA Earth Observatory
I still wish that all people, both urban and suburban, worried less about what might be lurking in the dark, and more about the well-being of our feathered friends. Excessive lighting is just that.
Today I am thankful for:
(1) open space
(2) Emma the happy pup
clover vetch (h/t Jenn Hubbard)
Emma and I just took a walk to deliver some stuff to one of Wildebeest’s friends. (Friend is driving south to see Wildebeest tomorrow, and so can deliver the $5 North Face backpack I scored for him at a garage sale yesterday.)
Because I hadn’t yet walked Emma today, I figured it was a great way to accomplish two tasks at once. I also thought she’d appreciate walking through some different neighborhoods where she could smell new odors.
I guess she liked it well enough. For a while, anyway.
This is the second time Emma’s gone on a sit-down strike. She had plenty of water and a rest at the friend’s house, so I don’t feel too bad for her. Especially since just minutes after this picture was taken, she went nuts at a dog behind a fence.
Although I wanted to run today, Emma was more interested in walking than running. I was still grateful for her company. It’s impossible to be grumpy with a dog trotting along, smiling up at you.